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Bits: 25% bonus converting TopCashback funds to Avios, 80% bonus buying IHG points, my stay using bought points

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News in brief:

25% bonus when you convert TopCashback funds to Avios

Cashback shopping site TopCashback is offering a 25% bonus this month if you convert your earnings to Avios.

Until 30th April, you will receive 1.25 Avios for every 1p of cashback you convert.

Be clear about the maths before you do this.  You are basically buying Avios at 0.8p each compared to taking the cash.  This IS a decent deal, and it would be hard to lose money on this basis given that HFP readers should be getting well over 1p per Avios when they redeem, but think it through.  Cash is flexible and not prone to sudden devaluation, Avios are not!

InterContinental Times Square

IHG Rewards Club ‘buy points’ bonus

Until 1st May, you can buy IHG Rewards Club – the InterContinental, Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza etc scheme – points with a bonus of up to 80%.

The page to buy points is here – log in and see what is available.

This is not the most generous offer IHG has had, and it is also staggered which is unusual:

  • Buy 7,000-19,000 points, get a 40% bonus
  • Buy 20,000-29,000 points, get a 60% bonus
  • Buy 30,000+ points, get an 80% bonus

Some people have an even better offer of a 100% bonus although 80% seems to be the most common.

I wouldn’t buy speculatively with an 80% bonus as I am fairly sure that a 100% bonus for everyone will be along in a few months.  If you need to top up your account in advance of a planned short-term redemption, however, you might as well do it whilst the bonus is on.

Park Hyatt Hamburg

…. and talking of buying points …..

Just to prove that it CAN make sense, I am typing this in the Park Hyatt Hamburg where I am visiting Aircraft Interiors Expo.

Hotel prices are VERY steep whilst this event is on.  When I came to book, the Park Hyatt was over £400 per night and there wasn’t a lot that was decent for substantially less.  And the Park Hyatt is VERY nice ….

I chose to buy 30,000 World of Hyatt points for £394 instead.  I bought these during a ‘40% bonus points’ promotion back in November.  This got me the two nights I needed at 15,000 points per night.

(Unfortunately, Park Hyatt Hamburg has now gone up to 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night so it won’t be as easy to repeat this trick in the future.)

By buying points I saved over 50% on the cost of my room, and I also retained flexibility to cancel.  This would not have been possible if I had locked in an Advanced Purchase rate for cash.

PS.  If you are planning to visit Hamburg, I don’t actually recommend doing what I did unless it is when a trade show is on and prices are crazy.  The best way to book Park Hyatt Hamburg is to let our travel booker Emyr Thomas book you in as a Hyatt Prive client.

I discussed Hyatt Prive in this article.  You get free breakfast, a confirmed upgrade AT TIME OF BOOKING, early check-in and late check-out plus $100 equivalent to spend on food and drink in the hotel – even on a one night stay!

Getting your upgrade confirmed when booking is a real result.  We used this last Summer in Hamburg – we needed a suite so we could get all of us into one room, and this feature meant we could book a lower and cheaper category of room and immediately trigger the upgrade.  You can contact Emyr via this page of HFP.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Bits: Flybe cuts at Cardiff, Doncaster, Norwich and Exeter, BA / AA US changes, Terminal 5 gets a (real) dinosaur!
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  1. @ john and Froggee , It depends what you are buying. In terms and conditions Electronics at John Lewis give a lower rate of avios which I think is 50% less, but as they don’t make it clear how much you get I went with TCB. I cant remember if the bonus avios offer with BA was on like it is now, but I wouldn’t have been worse off going with TCB either way, and now Im better off with the 25% bonus.

    Ive had problems with both not paying out over the years.

  2. O/t but has Amex put it’s old restrictions back on referral bonuses being limited to the family of cards you are referring to?
    Just tried to refer my partner for a BA card from my Gold card but beside the Gold card only the Platinum and Green card are showing where I’m sure when I was referred you could pick and Amex card.

  3. O/T, Marriott Bonvoy redemption availability for Man Utd vs. Man City on 24 April

  4. Lady London says:

    I have found TCB to be a complete waste of time getting any cashback that has not paid aid or been unjustifiably denied. Premium membership made no difference.

    I wouldn’t trust them as far as I could throw them and only use them for things I for sure would buy anyway, and only if their cashback far exceeds any other deal on offer.

    • It seems to go through phases like that IME and then it can work fine for a spell. 2017-18 went well for me, just waiting for insurance atm as I mostly used the other site in past few months due to better rates at time of spend. Found the otber site much better when you need to chase things up so I prefer it.

      • Shoestring says:

        My 18YO son has been exploring some gambling entertainment sites (through these cashback portals) who seem over-generous 🙂

        You need to be disciplined & completely decided to do it for the cashback alone, so the best thing you can do on the gambling requirement is aim to get your stake money back & count every penny out to bet the minimum.

        Unfortunately that cashback scene (gambling entertainment) is a *lot* worse than a few years ago, I guess they realised we were taking them for a ride. Back then, there were quite a few ‘bet £10, get £50-£80 cashback’ opps.

        • The Savage Squirrel says:

          Back in the days of dialup you could get offers of £100 bonus on £100 deposit and with a bit of low-stakes Blackjack expect to withdraw about £195 on average. Better yet, theo offer ran every single month. Similar offers were available at quite a number of sites which, as a penniless student squirrel at the time, a few £100/month for doing almost nothing was most welcome..

        • Agreed, did well on them a few years ago. I was contemplating another go a few months back but was disappointed with the offerings now. I’ve also exhausted bank switches and over 50 plans. Pity we cannot do much with funeral plans!

        • Mr Dee says:

          Back in the day you could get a £10 bonus no deposit and actually withdraw any winnings with a low wager, those days are gone!

        • @BJ just getting into bank switches now, can’t believe how long I’ve left it! Used to do lots of credit card stoozing in the days too. Now have a nice spare account with DDs that can be moved.

        • Still very much worth doing but a pity you missed out on era of multiple short term switching bonuses at a number of the banks. This remains possible in some cases but period elapsed between accounts has increased substantially. I want an HSBC premier account but refuse to budge until they change their January 2016 cutoff so that I can get another bonus.

        • Andy D says:

          Ah yes the old monthly offer that let you play the bonus first then if you lost could just withdraw and wait till the next month. If I remember rightly they were Cryptologic casinos (Littlewoods, Ritz, Intercasino, Omni Casino, Will Hills, Sands of The Caribbean)

          Made a ton in them days

          Remember getting paid out in something called NoChex 🙂

  5. PaulC says:

    O/T and probably asked loads of times but does adding a supplementary card holder always get you 3,000 bonus points? Ive had it in the past on my Gold CC and BAPP but haven’t been “invited” for the bonus yet on my wife’s BAPP or Gold CC. Do I have to wait to see the offer or if I do it now I will get the points anyway?

    • PaulC says:

      The “offer” normally shows up after having the card a month from memory. Its not quite a month yet but interested to know if I do have to wait for it or not?

    • Seems to more often than not. Somebody will likely post very recent experience. Unless you have urgent need for the avios there is no harm in waiting until offer appears on your account.

    • MarkH says:

      I’ve never had the offer and always got the supp bonus points.

      Most recently done with Plat a few weeks ago.

      • Peter 64K says:


        • PaulC says:

          Cheers, Ive just done it and instantly 3,000 points added.
          I will now add myself to her Gold Card and that will be the last of our easy points until Ive had 6 months from my Gold Card and I can get a Business one in October.

    • Charlieface says:
  6. Qwerty Bertie says:

    Related to your topic of buying points Rob, and that you achieved good value from those points, I again make the case for you increasing your official Hilton valuation from 0.3p per point. I might need to stay near Cardiff one weekday night later this month. I checked it last night, eliminated one of the two possibilities based on lack of parking, and at the other had a choice of an AA fully flexible rate of £84, or a 10k points option, which would give 0.84p per point value. (I would pay the cash price if I didn’t have the points.)

    • If you look at 50 Hilton redemptions at random you’ll find 45 are around 0.33p. You can always do a lot better than this and if you only have a few points then it makes sense to save them for such occasions.

      Someone with 1m Hilton points (I have 1m Marriott at the moment and my wife and I have almost 1m IHG between us) will probably use them at every possible opportunity and so ends up nearer the average.

  7. Qwerty Bertie says:

    I think we must be looking at it as different types of hotel user, because the proportion of higher value found by me is much higher than your 10%; I’m closer to 50%. I’m currently having to make a fair few one night weekday stays in various towns and cities around the country.

    In particular, and I expect this is common knowledge to seasoned hotel users, but I’ve only recently noticed, that Tuesday cash prices tend to rise quite high above the typical rate. Points offer great value on such days where a flexible stay needs to be booked, especially when a slightly less central option is taken to keep costs down but without it becoming too onerous with location.

    • Yep, I’ve generally been able to get better value too. I’ve stuck with 0.4p for IHG/Hilton/Marriott and 0.75p for VS/AA/BA for a while. With the weakened pound I’ve found the hotel points esp valuable abroad. Had about 700k each in Hilton & IHG but still tend to not redeem unless getting at least those levels (or preferably more). Was glad I had a stash for upcoming Tokyo trip where most hotels were >£400/night. Conrad at 90k/night suddenly seemed pretty good value! (it was priced at £700+/night but definitely wouldn’t pay that!)

      • Qwerty Bertie says:

        It’s interesting that you value miles lower than the general consensus, and I tend to agree with you. I’ve done a fair bit of research on potential holiday redemptions to prepare for the next few family holidays, and by the time the APD and the BA tolls have been added, the points often don’t seem near the penny per point level.

        I’m leaning towards MR points being used for HH for business and pleasure, and stacking Amex Travel cashback offers with airline sales for pleasure. (No work-related flying for me.)

        • Yep, I’ve found that as you say once all the taxes and carrier surcharges get added in the miles just aren’t worth quite as much, esp with reasonable business class fares being about (certainly at levels I’d be willing to pay). Hotels a much ‘cleaner’ redemption in that regard. The other thing I’ve found relaxing is only aiming to maintain Silver with BA – has meant I’ve been able to take other more direct or better value options than having to stick with BA!

  8. Two points about TopCashBack:
    1 – You can convert your cash to a wide range of retail vouchers with a typically 5-15% bonus added, so the compare Avios offer with these options first.
    2 – I don’t understand the negative feedback about this company. My earnings history is currently about £2700 received and £255 declined (much of which I knew was ineligable anyway). And I don’t use it on betting sites either!

    • Shoestring says:

      then you missed out 🙂

      not trying to appear a BSD but mine is about 3x bigger than yours, & a lot of it was gambling sites – that’s not counting my winnings, just the cashback

      unfortunately (as mentioned above), the big opps on gambling sites have disappeared, I guess they are more interested in short term profitability than paying to recruit new sign-ups

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